David Cowper was the vicar of Beckindale between September and November 1977, taking over from William Hockley. As David becomes the vicar in September 1977, Emmerdale Farm and The Maltshovel begin receiving threatening phone calls. Annie Sugden is convinced not to go to the police but The Woolpack landlord Amos Brearly receives a horrifying phone call. It transpires that the caller is Julie, a girl David jilted at the altar. Julie is mentally ill and has been recently discharged from a mental home but continues to hold a grudge against David.
In October 1977, David takes a few children to Beckindale, however, Angela Read is left homeless following a misunderstanding. The Sugdens allow her to stay up at Emmerdale Farm until a home can be found for her. David ends up leaving the village in November 1977 when Donald Hinton returns as the vicar.